The Lupuna

I love local legends I am always talking to local villagers to tell me their stories, but someone that they have really experienced, not only the ones you read about, someone that they have personally experience or someone close that they know….

I was waiting for some guests who were visiting the local school and I was just walking around looking for different plants, then Rosa appeared, we started talking and chatting, I asked about that wonderful and huge tree we saw far inside the jungle, the one that rose on top of every other else….Oh.! She told me that is the Lupuna…..and here´s her story…

The Lupuna is a tree found in various parts of the Amazon. Is one of those beautiful giants of the Amazon, imposing and well rooted in the jungle soil. Its truck can be as wide as 10 mts. (33ft) when given the time to grow.

The Lupuna distinguishes itself from other tropical trees because of its “belly” a part of the trunk that is wider than the rest and bears some resemblance to a human abdomen. He is the proudest tree of all; he displays his large arms on top of the other canopy trees and always goes further up in search for the sun.

It´s spirit is also widely known to be a protector of the rainforest. Unfortunately, it is not entirely safe from deforestation, local loggers and lumberjacks are very careful about which Lupuna to cut down, because if they choose the wrong one, the tree will take revenge…

There is a local story that I was told in one of my visits to a local community. It was about a woman who still lives there. One day this woman was hiking through the jungle and felt a basic human urge. She squatted down near a big tree and relieved her bladder. She returned to town unaware of what was about to unfold. At nighttime her stomach began to hurt and swelled up to painful proportions. The discomfort kept her from sleeping that night and throughout the next day.

She looked for help, talked to the local shaman, who asked her what she had been doing when the pain started. Has she, by any chance, urinated near a Lupuna…?

The poor woman confirmed that, the shaman explained that the Lupuna was punishing her for showing disrespect.

“The only solution is to ask the Lupuna for forgiveness otherwise you will die”……he said.
With these words he went on his way looking for the moody Lupuna. The woman waited in agony, hoping that the shaman would succeed in his mission. He found the tree according to her description and spent the night at the Lupuna´s feet, carrying rituals and asking the powerful tree for forgiveness. He took a knife and carefully cut the Lupuna´s belly and took some of the juice that trickled from the wound.

In the morning he returned with this potion and told the punished woman to drink it.
Almost immediately the swelling and agonizing pain subsided.

By the evening she was up on her feet again, good as new and with a very important lesson learned…..!

You have to be careful in the Amazon Jungle, everything is very alive, even though you don´t believe in all this local legends but they exist because of something, we have to show respect for all the spirits of these wonderful place and always be aware that this legends mostly try to protect the forests.